In Hong Kong, crypto-related scams reportedly accounted for over 50 percent of the $407 million stolen from the city’s citizens in tech crimes in 2022.
Some countries around the world suffer more financial losses from cryptocurrencies, despite the huge bear market in 2022.
Crypto fraud losses in Hong Kong totaled HK$1.7 billion ($216.6 million) last year, up 106% from the previous year. According to local police.
In Hong Kong, 2,336 crypto scammers were reported in 2022, which is 67 percent of the 1,397 cases recorded by the police in 2021, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Hong Kong’s crypto fraudsters accounted for more than 50% of the HK$3.2 billion ($407 million) stolen from the city’s citizens in tech crimes, according to official figures from the Hong Kong police website CyberDefender. In the previous four years, online fraudsters collected the same amount, about HK$3 billion a year. In 2022, almost 23,000 technological crimes were reported.
According to SCMP sources, police witnessed an increase in the use of cryptocurrency as a medium for online scams, with fraudsters being able to
hide their identities, transaction flow, and final destination. One insider reportedly said that crypto use in online crimes has made tracking criminal funds more complicated for enforcement.
The Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force also shared observations on typical crypto fraud, describing such criminals as having extensive experience in investing in crypto assets, precious metals, or currency products. Such individuals often trick victims into installing fraudulent investment programs that show fake transactions and returns, police said.
The report comes as the Hong Kong government is increasingly committed to developing a cryptocurrency infrastructure that separates its crypto regulation from China’s blanket crypto ban, which will take effect in 2021. In February, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission called for public feedback on the new proposal. The licensing system for crypto exchanges will come into effect in June 2023.
- Published By Team Hongkong Journalist